10 things you don’t know about Danny Pudi

Alyssa Contreras
Magazines at Marquette
5 min readFeb 14, 2017


Danny Pudi, Comm ’01, (in the hat and flannel pants) dug out this photo of his Marquette days. Even though he’s busy on the set of NBC’s Community, he still makes time to cheer on the Golden Eagles.

A conversation with Danny Pudi can be just as random as with his character, Abed. So here are 10 random facts about this Marquette alum and Communitystar.

1) The son of immigrants, Pudi is half-Indian, half-Polish. He used to speak Polish with his grandmother and recently did an impromptu Polish danceon The Bonnie Hunt Show.

2) He got the Community role on his birthday. “We were out to dinner and I got the call, and I was, like, shaking. I think I dropped the phone in my chili. I wanted the role so badly. … Maybe we shouldn’t tell anyone that it was my birthday, though. I’m trying to keep my age a secret. I’m trying to pretend I’m 15. Ha!”

3) He might look 15, but he considers himself “an old soul.” “I eat oatmeal every morning. I like to watch birds out my window for a really long time. Like, I’ll sit there, and I’ll be watching a squirrel and a bird and I’ll look at my watch and think: ‘I just watched that bird for 20 minutes. Wow, what has my life come to?’”

4) He doesn’t know if his character has Asperger’s Syndrome, and he doesn’t care. (Speculation about whether Abed has the autism spectrum disorder started after co-star Joel McHale’s character made an Asperger’s reference to Abed.) “We’ve never said yes or no, and I don’t know that the show wants to take a stand on that. Whenever I read the script, I just try to look at what Abed says, where he’s coming from and how he looks at the world. I’m just trying to play the character as real and honest as I can.”

5) Media interviews — including this one with Marquette Magazine — still kind of weird him out. “I’m not used to any of this. … I’m used to interviews where I’m the witness to the scene of a crime or something like that. Like, ‘Did you see the bear fall through the window?’”

6) He’s a true Fanatic. “At Marquette, a lot of the performance I did wasn’t on the stage. I was always at every basketball game. I loved getting on the Jumbotron — I think I have the record for most times on the Jumbroton at Marquette games at the Bradley Center. I’m a huge, huge sports fan, and Marquette basketball is my №1 thing.”

7) His Marquette nickname was Study Poison. “When I showed up at Memorial Union or at Cudahy or wherever to study, they’d be like, ‘Here he comes, here comes Study Poison.’ Because I’d rather get together with a group of friends, hang out, drink Coca-Cola, watch movies, play games or whatever than sit there and look at textbooks.”

8) Marquette flashbacks are common when he’s on the set. “It’s almost impossible not to. … I think they do such a nice job of making the set so specific and rich. You see all the billboards with flyers about study groups or people looking for roommates or events on campus. It’s hard not to think about Marquette as I walk from my classroom (on the set) and see the chalk on the ground saying there’s a rugby game this weekend or come to the AMU for this speaker.”

9) He and co-star Donald Glover come from improv backgrounds and often improvise the last scenes of each episode — random scenes that have ranged from rapping in Spanish to cramming pencils into each other’s mouths to seizing control of the community college’s announcement system. “It’s a fun thing for us to do little bits like that that are very character-driven. It’s not necessarily part of the story, but it’s just a little peek into the world that these characters live in.”

10) Working with Chevy Chase is a trip. “The other day Chevy Chase threw a cherry tomato, and it hit me in the crotch. We were doing a party scene, and I suddenly feel this thing hit my groin. I look across the room and see Chevy Chase waving at me and giggling. … I keep telling Chevy when he’s ready for a vacation to let me know. I don’t know what it would be, a road trip vacation, maybe? Me and Chevy on a Vespa or something. … I think that would be hilarious.”

Comments from Original Post

Comment by Dan Wagner at Jan 26 2010 02:04 pm

Thanks for the interview. I had no idea Danny Pudi was an MU alum. Great job on the show, Danny — Abed is our favorite character, by far!

On a related note, Dan Harmon, creator of the show, went to my high school in Brown Deer, graduating the year ahead of me. He was the same in the lunch line as he was in chemistry class as he was when doing Improv at ComedySportz.

And I can’t believe Dan got Chevy for the show.

Comment by Dwayne Burtin at Jan 27 2010 02:52 pm

Abed is a great character and community is awesome. Great fanatic pic, nice touch on the blue mammary papillae — classic!

Comment by Lisa Hurley at Jan 30 2010 12:44 pm

Wow! Our family watches the show every week. Very funny! I had no idea he was a MU grad. The article never says ~ is he from Wisconsin?

Comment by Nicole Sweeney Etter at Jan 30 2010 02:28 pm

Lisa, Danny is from Chicago.

Comment by Liz Thorson at Feb 15 2010 02:47 pm

Great article — glad you profiled him. I have a ton of Marquette friends who love this show. A group of us were just talking about him this weekend, in fact. It’s so fun to know Danny is a fellow Marquette alum!

Comment by Tom Bruno at Feb 23 2010 04:42 pm

Way to go, Pudi! I directed Danny in a production of Godspell at the Helfaer theatre about 10 or 11 years ago. He was hysterically funny back then as well as being a generous cast member and an all around great guy.

Comment by Bella Merchant at Jun 24 2012 08:45 pm

Wow. Community is my obsession at the moment. I love acting and have considered pursuing a career in dramatic writing. It must be amazing to work with such an amazing actor.